An association’s objective is to match their potential members’ reasons with their strategy & mission. Today, running a successful association takes more than just providing advocacy on behalf of an entire industry – you must have a purpose that resonates with individuals (and beyond that, live your purpose everyday). Helping your members improve in any given area is a fundamental requirement. The more you help them improve, the stronger the relationship, the more engaged the member.
Association managers may know how much their courses or publications can help members, but if the individual doesn’t see the connection, and only sees these offers as the association trying to SELL stuff, engagement ultimately will drop.
How do you create engagement?
According to his 2010 article in Associations Now, David Gammel, CAE defines engagement as: “Engagement is the result of a member investing time or money with the association in exchange for value.”
As a result, ensuring your members are as engaged as possible is fundamental to surviving. In the B2B world, Gallup Business Journal says engaged customers deliver a 23% premium over average customers in spending, profitability and relationship growth. Imagine what that could do for your association!
What can your association do?
• Create a strategic plan to increase member engagement, whether it is creating a position with your association, or partnering with an external company for additional support.
• It’s not a “one and done” scenario – you must regularly be in touch with your members, seeking their input on changes, products and services.
• Stick to the plan – many members will be impressed that you have sought their feedback initially. And, once you have reached out and asked for the input, continue to do so – consistency is key.
• Also, as an association manager, you will need to track these metrics, so that you know what the next steps for your organization are. And these metrics cannot be gathered without constant communication. Surveys will help you along the way, but this is only one component. Most survey participants are those who think you want to hear what they have to say, or they have negative feedback they want to share. Having a conversation with all members (respondents and non-respondents) on a regular basis will provide you with the most realistic metrics.
In the end, everyday you must show your members that it is all about them. That will drive member engagement in the right direction.
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